I am a qualified primary school teacher with an interest in educational disadvantage and the role of education in supporting pathways out of crime. I currently work for the School Completion Programme and volunteer with adult offenders in Irish prisons for the Alternatives to Violence Project and Release Prison Partnership Programme.
I decided to do the MA Criminology Programme to develop my knowledge and skills and to create the maximum amount of opportunities for myself in terms of career progression. The inter-disciplinary nature of the subject makes it extremely interesting as it delves into sociology, psychology and law. I shared a classroom with practitioners such as Gardaí, lawyers, psychologists, social workers and other related professionals. The variety of perspectives and experiences that were expressed meant that we learned from one another as well as the lecturers. The level of expertise among staff was incredible and they were passionate about the course content. Small class sizes meant that students received individual attention. I also found it beneficial that classes were held in the evenings which meant that I could complete the course while working full time.
The course equipped me with knowledge of critical theoretical policy and practical understanding of crime and criminal justice matters. As a result of receiving an outstanding academic achievement award for my dissertation, I was awarded complimentary membership to the Association for Criminal Justice Research and Development. I have since been invited to Irish Criminal Justice Agencies Conferences and I have acted as a rapporteur and produced a summary which was published in a conference report. I am looking forward to doing a PhD degree in the near future.